Archive for January, 2012

UPS Headquarters Gains LEED Gold Certification

Nelson: I’m sure there is some clever comment to be made about
“Brown going Green” here.

Despite UPS headquarters being 20 years old, the company just announced that it has become the first in the package delivery and logistics industry to gain LEED Gold Certification from the US Green Building Council. UPS submitted the building for review in May 2011 (shortly after the appointment of Chief Sustainability Officer Scott Wicker) and says it’s the first of many to be assessed for certification.

“Our plan is to assess all new facilities and some existing facilities to see if they qualify for LEED,” Wicker said in a press release.

So how, as a 20-year-old building, was it actually accomplished?

It turns out that one of the requirements for LEED certification is that the building stands on a sustainable site. We were surprised to learn that only six of UPS’s 35 acres are actually developed. The remainder is Piedmont Forest, an untouched wildlife preserve. An arborist was used during construction and the company planted more than 900 trees after when the site was finished in the 1990s.

The nearby forest and concrete roof both have a positive impact on the efficiency of the building by reducing the heat from the rays of the hot Georgia sun that hits the interior. Solar shading and thermal insulation glazes were also used to reduce the incoming rays.

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UK Green Jobs While US Flags

Nelson: So why the disparity? Can you spot the difference?  Read on and tell me what you think the cause is.

Britain’s coalition government has put shrinking the deficit atop its list of priorities, and even supporters or Prime Minister David Cameron’s austerity agenda have acknowledged it has yielded painfully slow growth. But on renewables? The U.K. says the private sector is powering ahead there.

The government said companies announced investments totaling £2.5 billion ($3.9 billion) in clean energy projects from April 1 through Nov. 16, 2011. The Department of Energy & Climate Change said these investments, sprinkled throughout the country [PDF], had the potential to create some 12,000 jobs and “revealed more evidence of the economic benefits of renewable energy.” The government also said the investments would help it stay on track in reaching its European Union commitment of producing 15 percent of its energy from renewable energy sources by 2020.

UK renewables

image via Wikimedia Commons

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South Carolina Amazon Center in Early Stages of Construction

Nelson: Kudos to Amazon for going local with the grading company. I hope the ongoing project stimulates local and regional construction companies and ultimately brings jobs as the center goes online.

amazon constructionYellow super-sized construction equipment with iron plows and clay-covered monster wheels move along the 200-plus acre piece of land like army tanks in a desert.

The tractors and dumptrucks are furiously clearing ground and grading the earth in preparation for’s new facility on John Dodd Road in Spartanburg County.

The work here began the week before Christmas and could continue for a while more before the building contractor is ready to start laying bricks and mortar. And that means the roughly 400 promised jobs at the planned facility could still be months away.

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